MPs intervene in asphalt factory move

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The House is looking into the relocation of asphalt factories from Dali to other Nicosia areas after work was halted by residents physically blocking the entrance to one site.

The residents of 12 communities — Mitsero, Kato Moni, Agrokipia, Ayios Ioannis, Arediou, Malounta, Meniko, Orounta, Ayia Marina, Ayios Epiphanios, Kalo Chorio and Klirou, are determined to prevent the relocation of the asphalt factories which they say will harm the environment and public health.

In protests earlier this month, residents blocked off the road between Kato Moni and Ayios Ioannis Mallountas for a few hours, vowing to remain on site until they were vindicated.

As demonstrations escalated and tensions rose between police and residents, the community leaders of Agrokipia and Mitsero were arrested for obstructing the progress of an excavator sent to delineate the site and verbally insulting police officers.

Following the arrests, President Nicos Anastasiades called for a meeting with a delegation of the residents affected on 25 August, while at the same time pledging the planned works would be suspended.

The House will discuss the matter on 31 August, during its first plenary following the summer break, where residents will be called to table their objections.

For their part, the residents of the area agreed they would suspend any protest they had planned.

It also highlights the transparency, or lack thereof, of town planning decisions and under what criteria decisions are made.

The asphalt factories are currently operating in the Nicosia industrial area of Dali, but following demonstrations by the residents, the government decided to relocate them.

The cabinet ordered the move due to their proximity to residential areas.

Talking to news site Stockwatch, the chair of the House Environmental Committee and leader of Cyprus’ Greens, Charalambos Theopemptou, said parliament would examine the procedures for transferring the factories to Mitsero.

Theopemptou argued Mitsero is already burdened by sewage tanks near the community, while the operation of the factories is estimated to further environmentally burden the area.